Department for Transport
Taxi licensing strengthened to protect passengers in England
Councils in England are mandated to use a national database that records taxi drivers who have had their licences removed for misconduct (27 April 2023).
The government recognises the important role that taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) play in the wider transport network. The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Act 2022 applies in England and requires better information-sharing between taxi and PHV licensing authorities to ensure that unfit drivers cannot hide previous instances of misconduct.
The first part of the act came into force on 31 May 2022 requiring licensing authorities to report safeguarding and road safety concerns about drivers licensed by other authorities to the licensing authority that issued the driver’s licence. Licensing authorities that receive concerns about a driver it has licensed must then consider whether to suspend or revoke the driver’s licence.
Since then, the Department for Transport has been working to put in place arrangements so the rest of the act could be brought into force. Licensing authorities will be required to use a database to record instances where taxi and PHV drivers have their licences removed, suspended or refused for misconduct. When deciding whether to grant or renew a driver licence, licensing authorities must search the database for any entry relating to the applicant.
I am pleased to announce that the Secretary of State for Transport has designated the National Anti-Fraud Network as the database provider under the act. The National Anti-Fraud Network’s voluntary database has been in use successfully for several years. Over 70% of licensing authorities in England are already using the database to vet their driver licence applicants.
From today (27 April 2023), using the database is compulsory. The National Anti-Fraud Network will grant access to the database to all the relevant taxi and private hire vehicle licensing bodies in the UK. Government is covering the cost of administering this vital safeguarding database.
Requiring the use of the database across England will ensure that licensing authorities have more of the information they need to make the correct decisions, preventing drivers who could do harm getting a license elsewhere without being challenged. This change will help protect passengers, and the reputations of the vast majority of drivers, from those who are unfit to hold a licence.
This vital improvement to passenger safety builds on wider work this government is doing to protect the public, with the commitment to prioritise prevention, support survivors and strengthen the pursuit of those who abuse their position of trust. This includes the new Grooming Gangs Taskforce the Prime Minister announced to root out and put more perpetrators behind bars. We are also fundamentally transforming victims’ experiences through the new Victims and Prisoners Bill, amplifying their voices and strengthening their care.
Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/taxi-licensing-strengthened-to-protect-passengers-in-england
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